Offering Top Performance and Enhanced Safety In Your Gym
There are many aspects to consider when designing or refurbishing a gym. Exercise areas are inherently full of risks, but managing a new gym’s hazards is achievable when the correct planning is in order. Not only does your gym need to deliver top performance, but it also needs to be a safe environment for every stakeholder in the business. Read on to discover useful tips to ensuring enhanced safety whilst developing a modern gym.
Risk Assessment Documentation
Maintaining up-to-date documentation is invaluable in keeping your gym or club safe. If any issues arise in your gymnasium, keeping a record of risk assessments and hazard reviews will help to cover your back as all procedures will be firmly in place. ‘Significant’ hazards require action and intervention so all hazards (newly found or potential) must be accounted for and assessed.
Everyone must be kept safe – from the employees, to the customers, coaches and spectators. Common hazards include, but are not limited to; slipping and tripping, fire, chemicals, machinery (i.e. treadmill belts), human illness and electrical risks. So what can you do to keep your gym as safe as possible?
Of course, any business will need a business license. Aside from that, when considering health and safety in a gym there must be licenses in place to protect people. Every business will follow the regulations set out within the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. However, some clubs and gyms may require licenses from their local authority for matters which are not covered by the national Act. You can visit your local authority’s website to find out which licenses you may need, and what services and advice they offer to help gym owners. You can also read your local authority’s ‘Statement of Licensing Policy for additional information regarding your locality.
Your local authority will work with the Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) to enforce the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the subsidiary regulations that come with it. They will help gym owners to manage the risks in their establishment and local authorities have a legal responsibility to do so, as land and property owners.
Flooring Materials and Testing
When carrying out a risk assessment, it is important to comment on the general condition of equipment (which includes flooring) that is provided to users. The age of the flooring surface must always be considered. Are there signs of wear and tear that may be a hazard? If so, it is worth spending the money to replace floorings to high standards which will be durable and safe for users. If you are refurbishing a gym, the flooring is a major aspect to consider as it is literally, and figuratively, the foundation of your gym.
Whether you are refurbishing or creating a totally new gymnasium you need to consider the following questions; "will this flooring last?", "does it provide adequate safety for the physical activity it's intended for", "will this flooring be a slip hazard", "does the flooring meet HSE slip resistance standards?".
The best way to be sure of these questions is to regularly service equipment and to slip test your flooring. Different areas of your gym will require relevant types of flooring, so it is important to gain advice from a professional and slip test each type.
A traditional ramp test is available from National Testing to measure slip risk traditionally carried out off site. There is also the option, however, to use a pendulum test on your gym flooring, which is carried out on site and is often seen as more cost-effective.
As every gym is unique, a combination of testing may be required to give a full assessment of flooring risks which is why it's imperative to employ a professional. If you would like to find out more about ramp and pendulum testing you can do so here.
What Does The HSE Say?
The HSE recommends to always keep your health and safety policy up to date. You should consult your employees, including any volunteer staff, on your policy and train staff fully on all health and safety procedures. It is also good practice to allow all members of staff to shadow employers when carrying out a risk assessment in your new or newly refurbished gym, so that they are aware of all aspects of risk management.
The HSE also recommends to always display the health and safety law poster as a reminder of safety within a gym, so when considering updating or creating display areas within your gym, it is a good idea to position that in a central location.
Finally, the HSE emphasises the importance of keeping up to date. As mentioned earlier in the article, keeping on top of paperwork and carrying out regular risk assessments is the only way to enhance your gym’s safety. When you update or create a new gym, this is a good way to start off as then the process can continue little and often.
What Is A Good Risk Assessment?
Risk assessments should consider every type of hazard and whether it poses a risk. Look back to the start of the article to remind yourself of the list of potential hazards. When loading equipment into your new gym, it is important to consider the positioning of the apparatus. For example, treadmills being located next to a wall could pose a risk if a user were to fall off the belt and hit that wall.
With your gym being newly updated or completely new, all users should take part in a fresh induction to be shown how to safely use equipment. Educating users is all part of risk assessment as they could be a biological hazard in themselves. Your risk assessment should consider youth memberships and younger people should be appropriately supervised at all times, which would be included in your risk assessment. Signs are also an important safety tool when displayed where all can see.
The main things to remember when setting up a new gym are to begin your paperwork straight away and keep it up to date. As part of this, you should also get your flooring checked and tested regularly and ensure that everybody using the gym (staff or customers) are aware of the best ways enjoy your shiny new gym as safely as they can!
For help on risk assessing your premises, or to evaluate the safety of your gym flooring, contact our team at National Testing. We are UKAS accredited meaning we offer only the best in evaluation and reporting services when ensuring your premises is a safe environment.